A stay here on the fringes of the national park is all about being surrounded by nature…
A stay at The Serai Bandipur is all about being surrounded by nature. It’s on the fringes of the national park and tiger reserve, seven kilometres from the main road, and was established around a decade ago as an exclusive eco-tourism resort to allow people to appreciate the incredible wildlife in this area – particularly the tigers, of course – in comfort.
The buildings are designed to blend into the landscape, so a lot of the construction materials – the stone, wood and so on – come from the surrounding area. We have just 24 rooms spread out over 18 hectares; 18 of them are in rows of six, and the rest are villas and log cabins. The whole resort is on a slight slope, looking out over the Moyar valley, with the lobby and some of the rooms at the top and the rest further down. With the lower rooms, there’s just a wire fence between you and the jungle, so you can spot wildlife from your terrace, whereas the ones further up have superb views of the Nilgiris. My favourite place is the restaurant. It’s at the bottom of the slope, but it’s raised up so you have an unfettered view of the entire mountain range.
Morning and evening wildlife safaris in the national park are the biggest thing we offer. They’re actually run by the Forest Department, so our role is to take people to the pick-up point and collect them afterwards. Within the property itself, we have just started doing stargazing; being a remote destination with nothing much around, we have a beautiful view of the night sky. The grounds cover 36 hectares in total, half of which is kept just the way it was, so we run nature and bird watching walks in that part and there’s always plenty to see.
We keep our carbon footprint and impact on the reserve as small as possible, whether that’s by sourcing as much as possible locally, avoiding food waste and keeping our generators on for as little time as we can. There’s also a strong connection with the local communities. Around 80 per cent of the staff come from three nearby villages, and we provide them with all the training they need for whichever role they choose, whether that’s housekeeping or horticulture.